Giant birds roamed the Arctic millions of years ago, and our flightless companions might return.
(Mirror Daily, United States) – There is evidence that points out the fact that giant birds roamed the arctic millions of years ago. This means that the vast reach of ice and cold was once a hospitable environment for the Gastornis.
Recent digging in the Arctic Circle revealed some bone fragments belonging to the Gastornis, a giant bird that did not have the ability to fly.
According to the estimates made by the scientists, the Gastornis similar in size with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnsons, meaning it stood around 6 feet tall and weighed a couple hundred pounds. Only the head of the enormous bird would have equaled the one of a modern-day horse.
A new study that was published last Friday in the “Scientific Reports” on-line journal, revealed the fact that the Artic was not a deserted icy wasteland around fifty million years ago, but rather a balmy swamp. This means that the Gastornis giant bird had a pretty big hunting territory.
Speaking of hunting, scientists believe that although the bird was massive in size, there is no further evidence to suggest that it had a meat-based diet. From what the researchers gather, the incredibly large bird fed on plants and fruits.
Giant birds roamed the Arctic millions of years ago, and they might come back. It seems that the climate change from the last decades significantly reduced the ice quantities from the Arctic Circle. The researchers have calculated that there will come a day, not in the distant future, when the Arctic landscape will change significantly and life could thrive again in the now arid desert of ice and cold.
But a bigger concentration of Gastornis fossils was also encountered in Wyoming, North America. This leads the scientists to believe that the bird actually migrated towards the Arctic in the summer, and returned in what we call Wyoming in the present day.
The migration theory is not that far-fetched seeing as there are a couple of species of ducks that migrate towards the icy landscapes in the summer. They come back when the long Arctic night sets it along the unbearable cold temperatures.
One of the authors of the study and researcher at the Colorado University, Jaelyn Eberle, stated that they have found additional bones in the Ellesmere Island. The other fossils belonged to another species of prehistoric bird, the Presbyornis. But it seems that this particular bird had more in common with present-day ducks or geese than with the giant Gastornis.
Giant birds roamed the Arctic millions of years ago and with the intense global warming, our winged contemporaries could have a chance at returning to the icy planes.
The complete cited study can be found here.
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